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Huck Finn Essay

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When Mark Twain published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1885, he created a revolution in American Literature. As Ernest Hemmingway put it, "all modern American Literature came one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn". Huckleberry Finn is an acid satire of southern white society in the late nineteenth century. Twain attacks the social conventions of southern white society through the perspective of Huck Finn and his adventures with Jim. During his adventures, Huck learns though the choices that makes. Huck's maturation and development illustrates Twain's idea that one should rely upon one's conscience for moral guidance instead of the conventions of society.

At the beginning of his adventures, Huck Finn is a naпve and uneducated boy. Because he has not been indoctrinated with the values of society, Huck arrives at the conclusion about many of his ideas by simple logical reasoning. When introduced to the concept of hell, Huck said he wanted to go to hell because Ms. Watson had told him that Tom Sawyer would be there and he wanted to be with Tom. While the thinking of most people is restricted by their inculcated social values, Huck's innocence allows him to develop a unique sense of morality. Throughout his adventures, as he encounters new situations, he arrives at his decisions and conclusion via plain logical reasoning. When faced with a dilemma of whether to turn Jim in or help him escape to freedom, Huck once again turns to his conscience for guidiance.

In the view of southern society, Huck, by helping Jim escape, is depriving Ms. Watson of $800 worth of property. However, in his period of interacting with Jim, Huck decides that Jim is not property but a person and treats him like a person. Jim's comment, "dah you goes, de ole true Huck; de on'y white genlman dat ever kep' his promise to ole Jim" shows that Huck cares about Jim's feelings and shows his concern by keeping his word to him. Huck realizes that he would have felt worse had he followed the laws of southern society and turned Jim in. At his point in Huck's reasoning, he subconsciously rejects the laws of southern society and relies upon his conscience to guide his actions. From this moment on, Huck will rely upon his conscience for guidance instead of the conventions of society.

Huck continues to mature as he and Jim travel further down the Mississippi. After they meet the duke and dauphin, Huck grows increasingly disturbed by the con artists' schemes. When Huck sees their attempt to con the Wilks family, Huck declares, "It was enough to make a body ashamed of the human race". Huck finally takes action by taking the fraudulently acquired gold from the duke and dauphin and hiding it in the coffin. This is the first time Huck acts upon his conscience. Before, he has only allowed his conscience to guide him. However, the duke and dauphin have not carried out their worst scheme yet--selling Jim back



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